The question, naturally, with such a strong first book: Can they do it again? And I am delighted, in the case of C.J. Barry, the answer is a resounding, YES!!
Her second book Unraveled is just as solid Sci-Fi, just as sizzling, sexy romance, with another set of heartwarming characters. So Barry boldly makes the statement she is here to stay. CJ Barry zipped into the romance field earlier this year, a brilliant meteor shower across the SCI-FI Romance genre, with her first book Unearthed, joining Robin D. Owens as the wonderful new voices in this category. Unearthed was perfection on many levels. The characters were sharply drawn so they leaped off the pages. Her writing was very polished - way beyond a first time author - knowing the small techniques that bring a story together and keep the pace moving briskly. The sexy romance sizzled, but it is in her characters' repartee she sparkles brightest. Unearthed was one of the best books Sci-Fi or Romance - I read this year. Barry is able to visualise her outer space worlds, so she pulls the reader along on the grand adventure.
Rayce Coburn we met briefly in Unearthed, a sexy hunk that was another space Indiana Jones. But he is tired of the struggle, adventure and danger, and wants to build something solid. His dream is a new spaceport, nothing like it in the area, and he has gone to the limit to see the vision a reality. But he needs a lot of credits to bring it to completion on time. And that is where Tru Van Dye comes in. She is a Majj scientist, and she is on a quest to find a lost fortune in alien relics, but to do this she must have Rayce's help. While he welcomes her credits at a point when he really needs them, that it should come from one of the Majj sours his soul. Rayce hates the Majj, blames them for the needless death of his sister, Miranda. And since Rayce hates them, blames the insular planet for all the woes brought on poor people of the universe, and specifically, the loss of his sister, he vents these emotions on the immediate target: Tru. The Majj sell their inventions and medical breakthroughs to the highest bidders, no matter if innocent people die. Only the desperate need for credits drives Rayce to make a bargain with the female devil.
However, Rayce finds the beautiful Tru a contradiction. She has a near crippling lack of her own worth as a person and displays a very tender compassion that is polar opposites of the Majj. Convinced she is frigid, by her only attempt at physical closeness, she is walking on needles around the sexy Rayce with his blue-green eyes. He rattles her in ways she never new a man could reach a woman. So she uses a virtual program built around Rayce - a preparation in teaching her how to approach him and win his aid in the quest. Not willing to put herself at risk in the real world, Tru uses the safe secure holo-program to try and find her own sense-of-self sexually. Only, Rayce catches her using the virtual set up, and scared the holo-Rayce might hurt her somehow, he enters the program. Tru never knew the Rayce she found so gentle and caring in the holo-program was the REAL Rayce not her projected image. As they race around the universe, even paying a visit to earth, trying to find the X marks the spot, they both learn about each other, who they are and who they should be.
Barry delivers, once again, a book that is thoughtful, moving, with winning characters, humour and those little special touches that guarantee you will be hearing a lot more for her in the near future....thankfully! Eagerly awaiting her third book due in March 2004!